ON February 11 2009, Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe by President Robert Mugabe.
This day heralded a new chapter in the history of the country as the historic September 15 2008 Inter-Party Agreement finally came to fruition with the first real signs of the consummation of what we have come to commonly refer to as the inclusive government.
At the time, in giving his acceptance speech, Tsvangirai acknowledged the enormous task that lay ahead for the inclusive authority in trying to reverse almost a decade of recession in various facets of Zimbabwean life.
A year later, we have indeed seen signs of progress. The economy, previously characterised by hyperinflation and shortages of almost every commodity, has been rescued from the doldrums. The health and education sectors have been redeemed from total collapse.
Calm has since returned to most rural areas, having borne the brunt of the 2008 electoral violence. Generally speaking, normality is returning to the country.
However, it should be said that the greatest work for the inclusive authority lies ahead and the milestones achieved so far should not blinker the government to rest on its laurels.
While conditions have improved drastically from the 2008 levels, a lot still needs to be done to restore normality to the lives of so many Zimbabweans.
It is worth noting that the recession that has characterised the country over the years has forced people to normalise the abnormal as survival had become the buzzword in many places.
This is the reason why the citizenry had become accustomed to queuing for almost any commodity.
We remain critical of the government in as far as we seek to fulfill our role as a watchdog to its work.
Much as we recognise that this government is only a transitional authority, we are also fully aware of the key mandate that lies in its wake: to deliver a new democratic and people-driven constitution and lay the foundation for an environment that is conducive to the holding of free and fair elections.
It is this priority that lies at the core of the inclusive authority, yet a year since its consummation, it is this same priority that has seen less movement towards its full achievement.
We implore the inclusive government to put the people of Zimbabwe first in their endeavours and not to prioritise self-enrichment and personal aggrandisement at the expense of the people. As the youth, we therefore implore the government to prioritise:
- The drafting of a genuinely democratic constitution for the people by the people as a matter of utmost urgency;
- The restoration of the rule of law, including reform of state institutions and greater respect for the people’s fundamental freedoms and human rights;
- The national healing agenda, including a comprehensive debate on justice options as they suffice for both victims and perpetrators of past violations of human rights;
- Restoring the credibility of our education sector to afford quality and affordable education from primary school, to secondary, tertiary and vocational education;
- Rehabilitation of the health sector to afford decent and affordable health care to all;
- The development of a national youth policy that is premised on the genuine participation of youth to capture their real needs and aspirations; and
- Finalising all outstanding issues hindering the full implementation of the GPA as we are of the firm belief that only the full implementation of this agreement can restore normality to the country.
We urge all youth not to tire in the quest for a genuinely democratic Zimbabwe as the journey to a democratic and open society is far from over.
Youth Forum, Information and Publicity,